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10 New Year’s Day Activities for Your Family

Grab your books and have a reading party. Or spend the day outdoors together. We found relaxing New Year's Day activities for everyone in your family.

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Closeup photo of family feet in wool socks at fireplace; Shutterstock ID 328810142; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHkryzhov/Shutterstock

It’s the day after the biggest party night of the year, even for families with kids. However you celebrated, you’re probably looking to keep things low-key. Here are relaxing, feel-good ideas for New Year’s Day activities you can enjoy with the whole family.

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View of an old tropical greenhouse with evergreen plants, palms, lianas on a sunny day with beautiful light in St. Petersburg/ ; Shutterstock ID 1019794357DimaBerlin/Shutterstock

Go to an Indoor Botanical Garden

If you’re trapped in an Arctic tundra region for winter, this is a fantastic way to bring back summer. You can take your time strolling and learning about all the flowers and plants from different areas. Breathe deep and you’ve got an instant stress reliever and mood elevator. Many cities’ indoor gardens offer special events, art displays and sometimes even live music. When you get home, find a houseplant that will thrive in your space.

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Portrait of astonished child at a circus; Shutterstock ID 512155558Chubykin Arkady/Shutterstock

See a Play

This is a great way to break up the old movie tradition with your crew. Many actors are happy to perform a family-friendly matinee on this holiday for you, when not everyone is working. You’ll all have something to talk about after, and the kids might be inspired. Find healthy snacks for kids to much on during intermission.

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Cute talented boy playing the role of a brave Russian warrior fighting with a sward to defense his beautiful wife, in a theatrical performance at school; Shutterstock ID 275612612Viacheslav Nikolaenko/Shutterstock

Act-Out Games

This is one I used as babysitter for my two younger brothers. Take turns acting out mini plays with each other. You can base them on cherished fairy tales or favorite movies you all know, whatever brings out your inner ham. Whoever is the “director” gets to cast the roles. Definitely grab props, costumes and anything you need to feel the part. Then, make a video so you can all enjoy some good laughs later.

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Father carries his baby daughter on a snow-covered interpretive trail at Lone Pine State Park, Kalispell, Montana; Shutterstock ID 651475951; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHKarin Hildebrand Lau/Shutterstock

Visit a State Park

If it’s not too bone-chillingly cold, pile everyone in the car and get out into nature. Chances are good you’ll return refreshed and invigorated. Many state parks offer family-friendly activities all year round, even on special dates like New Year’s Day. There could be a snowshoe/ski/sled or candlelight hike in your neighborhood with hot cocoa offered afterward. Keep cabin fever away with these other family winter activities.

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Black kid feeding mother with cooking food in the kitchen; Shutterstock ID 712154488; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM):

Cook a Meal Together

There’s no such thing as too many cooks in the kitchen today! Every family member (except maybe the cat) is assigned a duty and you create a culinary masterpiece together. OK, it doesn’t have to make Jacques Pépin jealous, but you can have a good time with it. Find an easy recipe that kids can help make.

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happy young family playing in fresh snow and building snowman at beautiful sunny winter day outdoor in nature; Shutterstock ID 334805033; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHdotshock/Shutterstock

Build a Snowman

Even if you’ve already rolled up a version of Frosty this year, there’s no stopping you from adding on some friends. Make a snow-cat with some twigs for whiskers and see how many other playful accessories you can add to your sculptures. This is decent exercise too, rather than just vegging out in front of the TV. If you’re one of the fortunate folks who live in Florida, head to the beach together and make a sandman.

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Detail shot of a record player; Shutterstock ID 148492391; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHsirtravelalot/Shutterstock

Play DJ

If you haven’t hopped aboard the vinyl revival, you can still easily take turns spinning tunes. Bring up your streaming music library and create a 2020 New Year’s Day playlist. Everybody gets a chance, and nobody’s allowed to knock anyone else’s musical selections. This way you get a really eclectic mix. Then, dance around in the living room!

If you’re stumped about entertaining the kids on a snow day, this is the list to check.

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Portrait of happy family daughter girl is learning to use colorful play dough together with parent; Shutterstock ID 1222127461; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHPond's Saksit/Shutterstock

Get Artsy

Break out the finger paints, crayons, clay or pastels and get creative. See who can come up with the most unique fantasy animal or monster. Just be sure to lay out a lot of newspaper down first on the kitchen table. Have a crafter in your house? Be sure they’re well-stocked with different construction paper, buttons, feathers and kid-friendly glue and glitter. Find more activities for kids, all inspired by popular smartphone apps.

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happy family mother and child daughter read a book on winter autumn evening near fireplace ; Shutterstock ID 795241441; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHEvgeny Atamanenko/Shutterstock

Read Some Books

If someone doesn’t have a book from the library they’ve been meaning to get to, dig out a classic from the shelf at home. Have the kids load up on their favorites to look at. Check outside and see if your Little Free Library has anything intriguing. To encourage quiet time, see if you can make it a contest. Who can go the longest without saying anything? The winner gets to pick out a new book later that week.

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Young woman and cute children reading book in hovel at home; Shutterstock ID 598451210; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Make a Fort

There’s nothing cozier and simpler than getting big heavy comforters and blankets to drape over a few chairs and crawling inside with a few pillows. Bring some age-appropriate card games like Old Maid, Go Fish or Uno. If it’s hard to see, make it more exciting with a flashlight. This activity may even encourage everyone to curl up for a nice afternoon nap.

Colleen DuVall
Colleen is a writer/editor/podcaster who has made it a lifelong hobby to collect and try out new recipes. After another October has come and gone, she starts counting down the days until next Halloween.

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